You've kept the cards and letters coming
Well done, my reader friends. Full, full mailbox this week and some top-notch queries. This interweb thing works well.
Remember, if you've got a question, just click here and through the magic of internet, we'll see it. And probably read it.
Anyway, this week’s themes: The fantasy that is Jamario Moon, the requisite ‘What happens to Jose?’ question and Cameron’s not a wimp, he’s a nerd.
Q: I have two questions to tap into your endless knowledge.
1. Has anyone every got close to a quintuple double. Basically double digits in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. I’m going to guess someone from the Spurs is the closest.
2. Why does no one goaltend the continuation shot? Once the whistle blows, what’s to say you can’t goal tend? After all the play is dead isn’t it?
Jason Howlett, Princeton
A: For the first one, I’m guessing that either Wilt Chamberlain or Bill Russell, maybe even Oscar Robertson, would have had one in their careers but they didn’t keep close stats on things like blocks back then. In today’s game? I’d have my money on a guy like Andrei Kirilenko, actually.
On the second one, people don’t goaltend on continuation baskets because it’d be goaltending. The whistle may have blown but the shot is alive and goaltending is goaltending.
Q: While watching Moon in Chicago it was easy to conjure images of Pippen, the length, quick hands, hops and stuff. Well, he sure got you a tad excited about his potential to inject some athleticism and skill into an already skilled but staid squad.
Anyway, here's my question: what are his ball-handling skills like? 'Cause wouldn't it be great if he could play point forward, a la Pippen, and save you from the incessant Ford/Calderon queries?
Matt G, Ottawa
A: Nothing is going to stop me from fielding incessant Jose-T.J. questions. Ever.
But no, Moon is nowhere near Scottie Pippen and has nowhere near the ball-handling skills to initiate the offence.
Q: I know that José seems happy coming off the bench and is very much a team player. But what happens when a team like, oh, I dunno, let's say Memphis, comes calling in the off-season with a whole whack of cash, not to mention the opportunity to play with two of his Spanish buddies (Gasol and Navarro)? Do you think the Raps would pay starter's money for a back-up, even as talented a backup as Jose?
And what role, if any, do you think an unhappy Garbo will play in Jose's thinking? Much as I would HATE to see Jose leave, should the Raps trade him before the deadline (for, say, Maggette? The Clips will be losing Cassell at year's end, plus he's, well, OLD).
Lee Zimmerman, Ottawa
A: We have no idea who will come calling in the summer (not a lot of teams will have more than the mid-level exception and Toronto can match any offter) but I don’t think it’s Memphis. They’ve got Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley for the future and point guard is not the spot they’ll be looking to fill.
Also not sure about the Garbo issue. Jose was enough of his own man to come to the NBA on his own, can’t imagine he wouldn’t be comfortable staying on his own. They’re friends, sure, but friendship only goes so far.
Q: Two random questions from channel surfing different games (Wednesday) night.
How do the teams determine which direction they play in to start a game (obviously it's the opposite after half). Is this chosen by the home team, visiting team, is it standardized. I thought last year the Raps played towards their bench to start the game, this year it looks to be the opposite.
And what is the deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers floor, it seems that it's raised about a foot and a half off the ground and that the team benches are actually inset in to the ground? Would this not be a broken ankle/leg waiting to happen - guys running down balls or back-pedalling towards the sides and then all of a sudden they fall into the pit?
Chris French, Toronto
A: Good observation on the ends thing. Visiting teams get the choice. Some coaches want to defend in front of their bench in the last quarter, some teams want to shoot there. It differs from one to the other.
And, yes, the Cavs court is elevated about 12 inches, I’d say. And, thankfully, there are well-heeled, uber-rich ticket holders to break the momentum of any out-of-control player.
Q: The Raps shooting has been inconsistent this year. How bad do they miss shooting guru Dave Hopla. And what about former lead assistant Jim Todd? Big loss as well in retrospect?
Neil Morton, Toronto
A: Lots of Hopla questions. And lots about JT.
I don’t think there’s a correlation at all. Hopla did a good job working after practice on shooting technique but so do Alex English, Mike Evans and Jay Triano now. JT was a good assistant coach, the guy who followed him, Evans, is just as good and I presume Sam listens to him as much as he did JT.
Besides, it’s not like Hopla’s turned the Washington Wizards into the greatest shooting team in the league and JT’s helping Larry Krystkowiak and the Bucks become an average Eastern Conference team.
Q: Is it too early to add Jamario Moon to my fantasy basketball team?
Jeff Dyck, St. Catharines
A: This is one for my boy Mike Grange at the Globe, whose fantasy team is doing all right (well, it’s not his, exactly, but an amalgam of many others) and The First Lady Of The Beat, who is new to fantasy basketball but apparently obsessed with it.
I’ll check with them and let you know later.
My initial reaction? It’s way too early.
Q: I was saddened to read the reference of Cam Mathison -- pride of Thornhill, former McGill varsity basketball player, and 1990's Etobicoke Mens Basketball B League scoring sensation for the X-Kats -- as 'Wimpy.' Having played hoops with and against several Canadian hoop player/actors - Mr. Mathison; Tommy Cavanaugh - a bit of a chucker for a point guard; Jason Priestly - no game; Ryan Reynolds -another BC boy with no game but what looks like the best acting career - Cam would have been the last I would have put as Wimpy. Nerdy, maybe. Anyway, my question is, as someone who watches dancing, who's the Raptors best? And your top Dance Pak member?
Geoff H, Toronto
A: I will bow to your knowledge, retract Wimpy and go with Nerdy. But I still say Scary wins in a rout (and to clear things up, I have no abiding interest in dance, I just don’t have control of the clicker early on Monday nights early, that goes to The Lovely Missus).
And, I’ve never seen a Raptor dance, thank God, so I can’t give you an assessment on that, either.
And, while I’m pretty sure the ladies of the Dance Pak have no idea who were are, what we do or why we’re always around the arena, in case they do, I will only say they are all talented dancers and smart, lovely young women. No favourites here.
Q: It's Mike, (the one guy you know that was actually at that John Salley Party and got his jacket stolen). Anyway, my friends and I are gonna be at the game this Friday against Indiana (I won the guys night out Raptors pack from the Fan online!). Anyway, I will also be there in a box this Sunday (which a bunch of us buy once a year and take the family), here is where you can help. I want the fans to start a new tradition at the ACC. Whenever Moon scores a basket I want everyone to 'Howl at the Moon.' Like wolves at full moon! We will do our part this Friday and Sunday, but if you can spread the word that would be great!
Thanks, man, and keep up the great work!
Mike aka No Jacket Required, Toronto
A: Only ‘cause you’re the dude who lost the jacket in the unfortunate car-in-the-lake New Year’s Eve bash am I using this.
Consider the word spread. Fans, do your part.
Q: Does BC have input into playing time and how that plays into trade value? If I'm running the team and considering moving either a Garbo or Humphries, I'd love to see the one that I want to move play more to increase his trade value. If I'm the coach, that's not a concern since I don't care to mold a rotation with a player that might not be there long time. Would BC and Sam talk about or consider this, or do they each look at the team from their own perspective, as in long term versus short term.
John Plaudis, Toronto
A: There really is a division of responsibility between a coach and a general manager. They interact but there are no proclamations coming down from on high and Sam doesn’t have to bounce ideas off Colangelo.
They talk a lot, daily I’d presume, but that’s not out of the ordinary.
The conflicts that inevitably arise, and are inevitably solved, do often revolve around long- vs. short-term needs and desires but pros who respect each other, like Colangelo and Mitchell, work through them.
Q: Do you have any idea how the NBA sets the schedule for each team every season?
I decided to take a look at Boston's schedule when my co-worker noted that they have had the luxury of a couple of days between most of their games to date.
Looking at the Celtics schedule, it is not difficult, to envision a conspiracy to make this team succeed this season.
I notice that they do not travel to the west coast until Dec 26 (Sacramento), and do not have to play Dallas or San Antonio (at home) until Jan. 31, or visit Phoenix 'til Feb. 22.
Granted, March's schedule is a corker, but by that time they could have locked up the east.
Have I been watching too many old Kennedy assassination documentaries, or does the Celtics schedule look suspect to you?
If so, is this a common occurence in the NBA ? Or does no one every really bother to examine and compare team schedules?
Patti Heidinger, Toronto
A: Kennedy assassination docs? Are you grown up like me? Do you know who Wally Pipp was?
But your conspiracy theories are not really applicable here. Some teams do get some stretches where their schedules may seem easier but they’ll get hard stretches later on so it does all even out in the end.
The determining factor, usually, is arena availability. Like the Raptors used to spend every Christmas on the road because some Stuffed Animals On Ice show had a five-year deal at the SkyDome, as it was called then. This year, they’re out west again before and after but last year they played two at home between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
Q: Simple question. Kapono hits 50 per cent of his shots. Why can't the Raps get him the ball.
Sam Toman, Toronto
A: Simple answer. Defenders.
Q: Re: Wally Pipp.
As if you had any first hand knowledge of Wally Pipp - dude was playing before the stock market crash of '29.
Dan Maguire, Montreal
A: Dude, did you not get it? It’s not that I knew Wally Pipp, it’s what he is, and it’s got nothing to do with him traded or anything.
Wally Pipp was the guy Lou Gehrig replaced at first base for the Yankees, starting Gehrig’s streak of 2,130 straight games. Joey Graham got hurt, Jamario Moon is in, Graham is Pipp. Get it?
Good story about context and writing for this audience. Couple of years ago, I made another reference to Pipp and asked an editor on the desk if he thought anyone who read it would know that he was the guy who Gehrig replaced. Editor thought not only would no one know Pipp, few would know Gehrig. Looks like he might have been right.
Okay, we'll be back next Friday with another mailbag and there are always three questions after every game. To get us, just click here.